We all age, but when your skin ages faster than it should, this is called premature aging. The common causes of premature aging are usually our lifestyle, eating habits, and environmental factors. The most common signs of premature aging appear in your skin, with wrinkles, age spots, dryness, or loss of skin tone. Healthy lifestyle habits can help stop and prevent further premature aging.
Signs of Premature aging
Over time, our bodies naturally age. Premature aging is when the typical effects of growing older happen early. It’s when your body looks older than your actual age.
The most common signs of premature aging are:
- Wrinkles, age spots, dryness, loss of skin tone, hyperpigmentation around your chest, and sagging
- Hair loss or graying hair
- Sunken cheeks (Gaunt face)
What Causes Premature aging?
Signs of premature aging hits your skin first, naturally skin changes as we age but when they appear earlier in life, the cause is usually from environmental or lifestyle factors. Here are some most important factors that cause premature aging:
- Sun exposure causes many skin problems. Ultraviolet rays and exposure to sunlight age your skin more quickly than it would age naturally. This type of aging is called photoaging, and it’s responsible for 90% of visible changes to your skin. UV light damages skin cells, contributing to premature changes like age spots. This sun exposure also increases the risk of skin cancer.
- High-Energy Visible (HEV) and infrared light: They are also responsible for the other 10% of skin changes. HEV light also called blue light comes from the sun and electronic devices like smartphones. Infrared light is not visible, but you can feel it as heat. These forms of light don’t increase skin cancer risk, but they do affect collagen and skin elasticity.
Other environmental or lifestyle factors that cause premature aging include:
- Smoking: when you smoke, the toxins in nicotine alter the cells in your body and also they break down collagen and elastic fibers in your skin, resulting in sagging, wrinkles, and a hollow, gaunt face.
- Unhealthy Diet: A few studies show that diets high in sugar or refined carbohydrates may cause premature aging. On the other side, diets filled with plenty of fruits and vegetable help prevent premature skin changes.
- Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can dehydrate and damage your skin over time, leading to signs of premature aging.
- Poor sleep: Studies show that low quality or not enough sleep makes your cells age faster.
- Stress: when you’re stressed, your brain releases cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol blocks those substances which are responsible for keeping your skin looking plump and vibrant, they are hyaluronan synthase and collagen.
How You Can Prevent Premature Aging?
As we discuss above your lifestyle and environmental factors cause premature aging, by adopting healthy daily habits can prevent it. If you already have signs of premature aging, here are the tips to stop it from getting worse:
- Avoid Sun Exposure: Avoid sun exposure to prevent sun damage. Include sunscreen in your daily skincare routine, even if you are inside your home or office anywhere. Always choose a UV protection that’s at least SPF 30 or higher. When going outside, wear protective clothing including a hat and sunglasses. Avoid tanning beds – use self-tanning products instead.
- Stop Smoking: If you smoke, quit smoking as soon as possible. Talk to your healthcare provider if you need help quitting.
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet: eating more fruits and vegetable daily prevent premature aging. Avoid eating too much sugar or refined carbohydrates.
- Cut back on alcohol: As alcohol causes premature aging of your skin, reducing your alcohol intake can help prevent further damage.
- Take Care of Your Skin: Cleanse your skin daily to remove dirt, makeup, sweat, or other substances that irritate. Stay away from harsh skin products that contain fragrances or high pH. Moisturize your skin daily to prevent dryness and itchiness.
- Don’t take stress: Try to lower your stress level with some stress management techniques like meditation or exercise for the stressors you can’t avoid.
- Take Quality Sleep: Getting less than seven hours of sleep can age your body’s cells more quickly.